By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL – When you see your cell phone ringing you might want to thank Darrin Wagner or one of his employees at TEST (Telecom & Electrical Services & Technologies.)
Wagner is the owner and founder of TEST, a local company that services the technology needed for cell phone towers to operate throughout the region for most of the national companies like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and more.
Now the 43-year-old entrepreneur is hoping you will want to thank him for the same outstanding service TEST will offer in their newest division for residential electric service. TEST Electric can service, upgrade or repair any electrical problems in your home.
“We built this company by offering the absolute best customer service possible in everything we do,” Wagner said. “Now with TEST Electric, our residential service, we will provide excellence that truly stands the test of time.”
Wagner is so big on customer service that he created a thick manual for his employees that details every aspect of outstanding service for the residential electric side, covering the company phone greeting to the time they leave your home after handling a call.
When you call TEST there are two possible phone greetings. One of them says “We are having an excellent day at TEST Electric, how may we improve yours?” Or you may hear “Good morning, this is TEST Electric, how can we make you smile today?”
The name of his company is actually an acronym for “T”eamwork, “E”xcellence, “S”afety and “T”imely. Wagner said his office will call the homeowner the day before the service call as a reminder, then call shortly before they arrive.
When arriving at a home there are special “floor savers” that workers put on their feet, a mat is used to put tools down and all electricians are licensed, background checked and drug tested.
“We want people to know they don’t have to worry about who is coming in their home,” Wagner said.
Once there, the job is evaluated and a written order is given to the homeowner for what cost there will be.
“We offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee on all our work,” Wagner said. “And so far we have never been asked for a refund.”
Wagner admits he may not always offer the lowest price on jobs, although he said their work is certainly reasonably priced, but “the difference in service is something I think people will pay a few extra dollars for.
“When we leave we want the customer service experience to be something they are very happy with, and something they would recommend us to others for,” he added.
Originally from Chalmette, Wagner showed the signs for a business career in electronics from a young age. As a teenager he was installing car stereos for friends and said “I always liked to take electronics apart and see how they worked. It was always an interest of mine.”
He finished college at Delgado with an Electronic Technology degree and although trying nursing briefly at college, ended up going back to the career he loved.
“I thought nursing might be good when I went to college since I was very aware of trying to find a career I could make a good living at, but I didn’t have the passion for nursing once I started. I switched back to what I knew and loved and it was the right choice,” he said.
Even in college he was working at a local Radio Fone store where he fixed pagers, the early rage in wireless communication, and also installed the former giant phones in cars.
“They were like the first cell phones, but man were they big,” he said with a laugh.
After college he worked for Verizon and began getting assignments to scale the cell phone towers that were suddenly springing up all over with the explosion in cell phone sales. He remembers his first tower that was 200 feet in the air.
“I remember the guys making the tower swing back and forth and I was hanging on and yelling,” he said. “But I was OK going up that high and always said I would never ask my guys to do anything I wouldn’t do.”
From that point he began to work on towers as high as 600 feet in the air, as well as towers on top of high-rise buildings in New Orleans. Seeing the great future in the industry he started his own business a week before Hurricane Katrina hit in August, 2005 and although it took six months to get the insurance and licenses to work for all the major national companies, he was on his way.
Today he has 27 employees and has built a business that includes his 19-year-old son Dylan now climbing the same towers he used to climb.
“He loves it,” Wagner said.
To contact TEST Electric for any residential electrical needs, call 985-863-5510 or check their website at test-us.net.